Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tim Blair, Clint Eastwood, the Australian Film Industry, Miranda the Devine and starting school as a way to social oblivion

As ever, profoundly concerned that readers get a decent right wing loon fix, and deeply concerned about the inadequacy of the Duffster (see below) as reading matter - let's face it, a Little Golden book has more intellectual depth and philosophical insight than the Duffster's musings about state Labor - we did a quick look around loon pond.

And found bugger all. Good ol' Tim Blair is in love with Clint Eastwood - no, not that kind of poofter girlie boy love but manly, strong, deep, bass voiced, in a right wing John Wayne kind of way - and his latest movie Gran Torino.

Well, we're partial to a bit of Clint ourselves, not least his deeply anti-liberal piece of punkery in Dirty Harry, for which some soft wet types see Gran Torino as a kind of apology (seeing as how Clint reaches out for young Asian gang members to teach them the ways of truth and justice and pacifism. Bugger that for a left wing conspiracy joke).

But never no mind, if the new soft Clint lights your wick, whatever turns you on. But Blair isn't content to let it rest there. He still uses Clint to berate wet lefties and the Australian film industry. Somehow Blair sees Clint, the biggest box office draw these last fifty years in the biggest film market in the world, with over 300 million, as an exemplar for an Australian industry with a domestic market around the 21 million mark.

With marketing insights like that, no wonder Blair doesn't need an economics degree. He's just a natural free range dufus all the time. 

No wonder no one pays attention to him when they can listen to fine minds like little Billy Kristol (what, he's no longer writing for the New York Times) and Rush Limbaugh (hope Obama fails and America goes to hell in a handbasket for voting in damn Yankee traitorous libruls). Now those folk, those are the real quick draw Clints of right wing loonacy.

Let me explain this to you Tim, you marketing devil you. Big movies cost a shit load of money. They need a big captive audience. Australia is a small market. Australian movies, most of them, get diddly squat spent on producing and selling them. That's just the way it is. A few break out, but most fall to the nine tenths of all movies are crap rule (which rule the USA also follows).

The cost of Australia, that giant sized Fox turkey, funded by your master Rupert, would have allowed 160 mini-sized Australian film turkeys to be made. The A$40 million sunk into it by the Australian taxpayer would have funded ten A$4 million medium sized Australian turkeys. Next time you carry on about Australian film bureaucrats and government subsidy please mention the foreign bandit who looted, pillaged and raped the tax system to produce a show which lowered the brand of Australia (and Australian movies) for the next five years. Kenny? We should be so lucky.

Over at the Sydney Morning Herald, Miranda the Devine spends an entire column devoted to whether to hold back kindy kids preparing to start school: Holding him back can do just that.

It's so mind dumbingly, mind numbingly obsessed with the ways of the middle classes and the weight of expectations they dump on their kids that (a) I can't begin to contemplate it and (b) it makes the Duffster look good.

Sample thinking: holding back your child is likely to produce a ticking time bomb because it will mean more students in year 12 will be of legal drinking age. Legal drinking??? What the fuck? You think 17 year olds worry about legal drinking when they want a drink, apart from how to get hold of the booze? 

Dear deluded Miranda, you have nothing of sense or usefulness to say about young people. I started regular drinking in a pub at age 15 in the safety of the lounge bar. Schoolies week developed long before your anxiety about 18 year old binge drinking. If only I could grab you and shake you hard while I shouted into your face: "for god's sake, get a grip on yourself. You know nothing!"

Sample expert: Bob Perry from Charles Sturt University telling us all that age doesn't matter (so why are we so fussed about age, if it doesn't matter?) But wait, it does: "Knowing you're the king pin but that you're only that because you're older can't be all that good for self-esteem". Say what? Ah ma'am, I know I'm only six, but I'm having an existential crisis because I perceive that others perceptions are based on my height and my brains and my age and my ability to bash the shit out of the underlings that surround me.

Sample anecdote: anxious North Shore mother of two Nicole, who agonised over the decision to send her son to school before he turned five. Now long years later, she thinks she made the right decision. He's turned out okay, which is lucky, because you know, that one wrong fatal decision about when to start schooling could ruin your child's life, turn him into a teenage alcoholic, a misfit, a kid lacking confidence, and quite likely a sociopath, a convict and a divorcee.

Next week, Miranda the Devine holding forth in a forthright way on the chardonnay chattering classes and their silly latte North Shore obsessions. Whatever, she's big, she can embrace contradictions. Come to think of it, she's nothing but contradictions.

Some times you know I think the only answer is to pave over loon pond with concrete and put up a high rise block and fill it with right wing commentators so they can actually grasp the reality of the world most people live in. Then we could start a new soap called Loon Central, starring Tim "Macho Man" Blair and Miranda the eternally dumb Devine. What a soapie star she'd make. 

"Did you hear that Maggie Simpson down the road is holding young Kenny back?", she'd muse over a hot cup of tea. "Yeah, Maggie seems to think he has a future in shit disposal!" "No, you don't say ..." " Yes I do ..."  "Well I never". "Want another cup of tea?" "Tea", says Miranda, remembering Tony Hancock and John Osborne, "a cup of tea? Is that your answer to it all?" "Well no", says Tim, "being as this is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world n'all and would blow your head clean off ..." (Sorry Tim, golden rule, never filch great lines of dialogue from a movie. It's called trading off, or trading places or some such).

Anyhoo, Miranda to do the plot about the teenage rebel with a cause, sent to primary school to be socialised waay too late, and Blair can do the dialogue in his easy flowing gadfly way, and together they will produce a great script that will save the Australian film industry - just to show how easy it is. (Curse you evil public servant film bureaucrats you).

And Rupert can do the tax rort and Fox can produce ... and Clint, well I have a teensy suspicion Clint might pass, even if Tim made a pay or play offer ... He might be a tad leery about that man love thing, only because of the age difference of course ...

Michael Duffy, Michael Samaras, State Labor Conferences, Union powers, Tedium and Triantiwontgongolopes

After the most detailed, extensive, exhaustive, rigorous and painfully scientific examination of the data traffic related to this site, it has become painfully clear that the esteemed leadfoot Michael Duffy, columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, is like an albatross around the ancient mariner's neck.

A mere mention of the Duffster causes traffic to drop, people to faint, women to swoon, children to tug at the tails of cats. And yet this eponymous blog is named after this fearless defender of truth. People, as the man in Thank You for Smoking might have said, we have a marketing problem.

So it's come on people, as the sweet ocker loser from Adelaide Lleyton Hewitt, would say, come on. Or maybe it should be come on Duffy come on, because after an absence of a few weeks, he's baaack. But I'm afraid a little vacation, all play and no work, makes Jack a very dull boy indeed. 

Surely 'tis time to get out the good old axe, take a vigorous and hearty chop at all the world's evils, not least Peter Costello turning into a good old Elmer Gantry revivalist. But what does the Duffster do? Write a penetrating and detailed examination of the voting practices in state Labor party conferences: Double vote: a nasty secret that lets cronies control Labor's conference.

Oh no, say it ain't so Duffster, what about the readers? How can you spend an entire column working out that the voting is fixed, rigged, gerrymandered in Labor conferences? D'oh. This is politics baby, Balmain style, with a baseball bat. 

Now take the Liberals - please take the Liberals. They don't even bother with a conference with any class - when John Howard was in power they simply let him, one man, set the key policies and never you mind about this democracy nonsense. (And who can forget that master of state politics Joh Bjelke Petersen or our very own Liberal, run the bastards over, brown paper bag collecting Robin Askin?)

But with a mind numbingly tedious intent, the Duffster marvels at the 'great secret' of the ALP state conference, the double vote which gives 'a cabal of cronies' control, and allows the Duffster a fine flurry of cornball catastrophic conniptions.

"The double vote matters" says the Duffster because "conference matters". Sorry, I'm starting to yawn here. Must grit my teeth. Must face into the howling wind and the blinding snow. Must make it to base. Just a few steps further.

Then the Duffster steals extensively and shamelessly from an article by Michael Samaras, apparently a Labor party member, former staffer and now private sector wonk, who's written a piece on how to reform the party (the Duffy working on the shameless basis that Alan Ramsey used to filch large chunks of copy from others).

The shameless, slackarse Duffy, via his proxy Samaras, goes on to explain how unions dominate proceedings (what, no never, really?), and to moan about the fickleness of human nature and the lack of totally trustworthy sycophants, a deeply disturbing problem for union secretaries.

Samaras wants to reform the conference - reduce the union vote, allow union members to opt out of ALP affiliation, end double voting, inclusion of parliamentary MPs as delegates, the removal of policy and administrative committee members from delegate status, and an increase in the number of delegates from party branches in Labor-held seats (anyone in Liberal held seats can just fuck off, you didn't do your job???).

Sorry, nodding off there a bit are we? Well the Duffy Samara team reserve one last spray for the sad fate of their idols Morris Iemma and Michael Costa, and electricity privatisation, blaming Barrie Unsworth, Michael Egan, Stephen Loosley and Paul Keating, and their 'audacious hypocrisy'. 

It seems these vile, execrable, cankerous, cantankerous right wing Labor rats also abused the wonderful potential of the Labor conference as a free for all experiment in noble human democracy and did nothing to reform it. Duffy even imagines darkly that nothing will happen in the future.

Guys, take a valium. You're dragging the readership of the Herald (and this blog) down into the bog of profound tedium. The only way any political party thinks about reform is when they're voted out and they realise people have noticed the stench emanating from the swamp. There's a simple remedy - give state Labor some time in the wilderness. It required only one line, not a full bloody column pretending you've suddenly discovered what has been well known for years.

Then you could have spent the rest of the article explaining exactly how democratic policy making and conference attending and pre-selection fixing and branch stacking candidate endorsement works so well in the state Liberal party. Or better still, become fixated on Paris Hilton and the tendency to porn worship amongst eastern suburbs captains of industry.

Second thoughts, no, anything but that. Whatever, yes the briar patch, throw me in the briar patch, rather than make me read another Duffy column as tedious as this, be it about Labor bestiality or Liberal miscegenation or Paris Hilton's lack of underwear.

Sorry folks, the ice and the snow, it's all too much. Growing weaker, can't eat. Undemocratic tent pressing down on me. I'm just going outside and may be some time, but before I go, let's do our ritual scoring and it's a humdinger:

For sheer utter tediousness in subject matter and literary form: 11
For a bathetic desire to kick hapless clowns around in a redundant way as they line up like dominoes to fall to the ground at the next election: 11
For using nonsense about democratic reform as a baseball bat (or a piece of 2 x 4) on state Labor when a toothpick would have done the job: 11
For inducing comas in Herald and blog readers around the land: 11
For claiming that somehow Duffy and Alan Ramsey should be co-joined in the one sentence: 0
For sheer triantiwontigongolope weirdness and indifference to human suffering: 11

So at this point, let's conclude with a bit of a poem by that amiable larrikin C. J. Dennis, which might help explain the last scoring point and which reads best if you think of Duffy as the hero, the lead insect:

There's a very funny insect that you do not often spy,
And it isn't quite a spider, and it isn't quite a fly:
It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,
But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.
Its name is quite a hard one, but you'll learn it soon, I hope.
So try:

It lives on weeds and wattle-gum, and has a funny face;
Its appetite is hearty, and its manners a disgrace.
When first you come upon it, it will give you quite a scare,
But when you look for it again, you find it isn't there.
And unless you call it softly it will stay away and mope.
So try:

It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
If you sneer at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and sopa.
So try:

But of course you haven't seen it; and I truthfully confess
That I haven't seen it either, and I don't know its address.
For there isn't such an insect, though there really might have been
If the trees and grass were purple, and the sky was bottle green.
It's just a little joke of mine, which you'll forgive, I hope.
Oh, try!

Thank you C. J. And Duffster, please learn from him. Or at least try, oh tri, oh triantiwonti ...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peter Costello, John Howard, Australia Day messages, You Tube and Catch the Fire ministries

Well it's official. We are all deeply in John Howard's debt. I never thought I'd be saying this, but the man is a national hero. 

All those years he kept Peter Costello out of power, it was because we thought Howard was a control freak egomaniac determined to make his deputy suffer while Howard rode to glory on his shoulders. But he was actually being a man of steel and for that he has our gratitude.

How little we knew. How deeply we failed to understand that Costello was in fact a barking mad Christian, a raving loon that should never be allowed to leave the pond.

Whenever Howard dallied with fundamentalist Christians, you got the feeling he didn't really believe - like a true Machiavellian, he'd leave no stone unturned, and cynically dog whistle to whichever barking mad dogs in the vicinity he saw holding a vote in the paw. But it seems Costello actually believes what he says, though it's hard to actually decipher what Costello the incoherent might actually think, as opposed to mumble in a metaphysically deluded way.

By now of course it's old news, the way Costello made his video dedicated to the Catch the Fire Christian ministries as an Australia Day Message. Inevitably it turned up on You Tube, and inevitably people rushed to read the print release issued by the rapt Christians. If you want to catch up on the full smarmy pompous smirking message, go here. (Last time I looked it was still up). If you want to catch up on the full flavored nuttiness of Catch The Fire Ministries, go here (you can also connect to a transcript of Costello's Message via this page).

Catch the Fire, and Pastor Danny have a wonderful range of products, an anti-racial hatred disclaimer, and a wonderful section dedicated to Prophecies and Testimony, where the cawing and the clamoring of the loons is truly marvelous to behold . (Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them how much more are ye better than the fowls?)

There's so much tosh in the actual Costello Message that it's too depressing to relate here in full, but if you want to understand how narrowly Australia escaped being governed by an incoherent, rambling zealot, you should hunt it out.

What's more interesting is Pastor Danny (and his faithful flock) to whom Costello addressed his jeremiad. Pastor Danny is a full on fruitcake when it comes to his beliefs,as are his devoted followers. The good reverend Danny takes a particular view on Islamics, having lived and ministered in Saudi Arabia, only forty minutes from Mecca, "where we were most miraculously kept and protected from being captured and executed for preaching the word of God."

Here you must understand that his God is a pretty exclusive and jealous god: 

Many Christians around the world believe that 'Allah' of the Muslims is the 'God the Father' we serve. I must advise that this is not correct. Allah is a common term for any god in Arabic. However, the Allah (God) we serve as Christians is not the Allah Muslims serve.

... God very clearly tells us in His word, "That no man can come to the Father unless through Jesus Christ, His Son" - so how can we afford to pray together with those who do not believe in the Son? ... Come on men & women who know God, don't compromise in order to maintain your reputation. Stand up for what you believe. If not, we lose the Christian heritage of our homeland of Australia.

Okay that's all fair enough for a fundamentalist Christian loon. Christ is the only way, spurn the Muslims, fight the Crusades for another thousand years - what a pity they didn't do the job in the middle ages - remember the Jews actually killed Christ, yadda yadda, and so on all the way to the final rapture and hellfire.

What's funny is how Costello regurgitated the some of the same kind of claptrap talking points - if we aren't all good Christians, "then the very basis of our society and its order will be threatened. That's why we need Christian people to pray for our country." (Never mind that much western law is descended from Roman law established long before Christ, something you'd expect a lawyer to know).

What's that I hear in the background? Is it that wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny humming the 'Looney Tunes' theme? And is Peter Costello doing his best to be the new age Elmer Fudd as he slags off Islamics, Jews, secularists and anybody else who doesn't pray for the the good of the country, only obtainable courtesy of his Christian god?

Of course it's the sort of thing you'd expect a right wing writer of columns to seize on, conjuring up the dangers of religion and praising the virtue of having a secular Australia, and damning the folly of politicians like Costello who cultivate extremists of any hue, whether they be Islamic or fundamentalist Christian.

But when you look around, three long days after Costello imitated the Queen with his own Oorstralia Day message - plenty of time to whip up a column or run a line or two in a blog - what do we find? That's right, nada, zilch, zippo, nothing, nihil. Guess that means there's a lot of right wing nihilists around.

You'd hope for something from the fat owl of the remove, since Piers Akerman is now something of a Renaissance man, dedicated to free speech, convinced the Catholic church was profoundly wrong in its persecution of Galileo, dedicated to the idea that advances are wrung out of harsh dialectical intellectual controversy (see his stout attack on Islamics only a few days ago and the threat they pose to the world of artistic intellectual and scientific ideas, especially for the Dutch).  But sorry, all is silence in the tabloid Terror, not even a mouse stirring.

What about Tim Blair? The feckless gadfly is always up for a bit of pricking of preening pompous prats. Well no, just the usual, a lashing at Al Gore and John Kerry and global warming. You have to admire Blair for monomaniacal incapacity when it comes to looking at things with an even hand. If they hadn't invented blinkers for horses, they would have had to invent them for Blair - he simply couldn't manage with an eye patch over the left eye. Never mind, Christ will save us, won't he Tim? And Peter Costello is so much more sensible than Al Gore.

Nothing in The Age, which likes to publish prattling Jim Wallace, especially when he's on about how bad it is for developing countries to allow women to control their bodies and have abortions, because that's killing, unlike having a just war where you're licensed to kill as many people as you can find in front of your hi tech sights.

And over at The Australian, things are all quiet on the Costello front. Just a bit of standard Rudd bashing and Imre Salusinszky doing a routine dissection of NSW Labor.

But isn't this some kind of news, this Australia Day folly? Doesn't it look certain that Costello will never lead the Liberal party and never ascend to the ultimate secular throne, and be able to star in his own long running Yes Prime Minister series?

Sorry, instead of the new Messiah - and touted so all last year - it seems Peter is just a very naughty boy. The world moves on and so all Peter now has to dream about is his ascent to heaven for all his good works as Treasurer, somehow allowed to be unpicked by god in his infinite wisdom. 

Dear lord, how could you allow that evil Ruddster to ascend to my rightful throne, why didn't you smite him mightily? (but then who are we to try to fathom the ways of god, even if you pray really really hard and for a really really long time. But somehow that prayer works, though maybe not under Rudd, because his god is unlikely to be the same god as Peter's god).

Anyhoo, that's why we felt the need - in a blog dedicated to a choice band of loony right wing columnists - a solemn conclave, a brave heart band of brothers - to invent a special guest category for Peter Costello and his wonderful Australia Day Message. St Peter, before you hear the thrice times crowing of the cock,  you are hereby certified Champion Australian Christian Loon, with ribbon.

Funnily enough, what should turn up on my Google page as the quote of the day, but Steven Weinberg, US physicist in The New York Times, April 20, 1999: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion".

Jim Wallace, Overseas Aid, Abortion, the killing fields and western values

Jim Wallace, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby (whatever that might be) is at it again, and this time he's found a home in The Age with Life means something.

Funny - I thought life meant nothing, that you could bomb the shit out of a towel head as a way of converting him to democracy, and his death would be just one of those accidental casualties of war we all regret for a moment before moving along. But then I never trained as a professional paid killer (solidare in Latin meaning 'to pay'), even if the vast majority happily never get to fire a shot in anger or kill someone. (Turns out Jim Wallace has some form, as he's tagged a retired Brigadier and former commander of the SAS).

Poor Jim is very upset that Obama has overturned the previous regime's ban on the use of overseas aid to fund abortion services, and Jim is very anxious the current Australian government might follow suit.

Well of course what the world, especially the developing world, needs is many more unwanted babies, so Jim and his legions of devoted, caring Christians can raise funds and set up orphanages to care for them, and teach them proper western values, which emphasise the value of life and the importance of never doing abortions, so that people can grow up happy and abundant in a spiritual way, not in a coarse consumerist materialist way, and, it almost goes without saying, in a Christian way, except of course when the western military bombs the shit out of them to teach them about proper western values. (Think of all those heathens and Islamics and wayward exotic Eastern religion babies who can be snatched away from their hapless mothers and pointed in the right direction!)

"People will argue that I'm just putting forward a Christian viewpoint on this issue and that it shouldn't be given undue weight". Correct weight Jim, couldn't have put it better myself.

Why don't you actually think for a moment Jim about giving women control of their bodies and a right to choose, and a right to use aid the way they see fit. Oh I know those wretches in under developed countries worship the west (maybe that's why they brought down the twin towers) and they're way too dumb to understand the nuances of debate about life and when it begins and what it all means. And they're way too dumb to be entrusted with control of their lives or their countries, since they mucked them up (but wait didn't Europe actually control Africa for a century or two and fuck it over comprehensively in search of loot and easy living? In a very Christian way of course.)

Twaddle, it seems, comes easily to former military men, it seems, especially one with a Christian bent. And the surging heart of colonialism, the picking up of the white man's burden, is always a duty in a world still remarkably addicted to Rudyard Kipling.

But I've got Jim in my mind's eye now - he's the major in Fawlty Towers. We need to keep him away from guns for fear of what he might do to atheist rats, and to women who have babies they can't care for, and to women who might want decent post-Christian contraception as a way of avoiding AIDS. 

No wonder developing countries are fucked.

Hmmm. Thinking I must set up the Australian Atheist Lobby and start writing some drivel. Clearly The Age will publish it, in just the same way as they publish Jim lad.

Miranda Devine, hapless Mick Dodson, another bagging Australia Day and the coming of the Republic

A random sample of the impeccable thoughts of Miranda the Devine on the black bashing of Mick Dodson being made Australian of the Year in Bagging goes with the title:

Every Australian of the Year has to expect to cop a bagging, especially on Australia Day. It is our national sport. (Keep that in mind if ever a right wing loon collects the gong).

Since then (Dodson wanting to start a conversation about the timing of Australia Day) he has been bagged for lots of things, including for not being Warren Mundine or Noel Pearson - which is the most reasonable criticism. (Personally I feel sad that the bubble headed booby Devine is not Shakespeare or Wittgenstein and feel perfectly reasonable in saying so. No doubt Tony Abbott, that distinguished ultra loon, would back me up on this).

But if you started giving the award to real movers and shakers, such as Pearson and Mundine, it would soon become apparent that Australia is a small nation, relatively speaking, with a commensurate talent pool. You'd soon run out of candidates and have to bring on the B-team. The Australian of the Year awards committee is just averting any future disappointment to the Australian people. Maybe we should spread our talent a bit thinner and have an Australian of the Decade. (Bizarre logic, utterly bizarre, but if that's the case, Devine should qualify, let's see, thinking mathematically, every decade, thinning out the talent, reckon she could at least get a nomination by the year 5050. In the meantime up against her, Peter Cundall, gardening presenter, leftie and all round nice guy would be getting nominations every year).

It's a pity the committees do not put their deliberations on the public record, so that any obvious ideological agendas might be exposed. (And Miranda the deep thinker could have an easy column to write, about communists and lefties like nominee Cundall infesting and undermining and white anting the Australian dream and wanting to turn Australia into a republic).

But wait, what's this, a sting in the tail: But, Dodson's conversation-starter on changing Australia Day is not so unthinkable as the Prime Minister says.

Tell that to Akerman, Albrechtsen and the other loons. There's clearly been a failure to communicate. But Devine is fearless. She's not afraid of change, or deep fry thinking.

That's why for the Devine Australia Day could be changed to the last Monday of January and be celebrated like Thanksgiving in the US (you know the way the Indians and the whites sat down for some turkey and corn). Why according to a survey 56% of Australians don't even know Australia Day marks the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney in 1788.

But wait, that sudden rush of blood to the head can easily be reversed by standing on your head and whistling dixie for ten minutes (or Waltzing Matilda if you feel a thanksgiving moment coming on for all these insights).

In the end, the debate is all moot because as soon as the Queen dies and King Charles takes the throne, Australia will rush screaming to a republic and our national day will be whatever day we choose to make it happen. 

Yeah, republican Miranda. Go girl go. Sock it to them. Let's get it happening, what should we do, how can we get moving on this?

Sometimes the best solution is to do nothing.

Huh? Why did I just lose ten points in my IQ? Silly me, I read a Miranda Devine column. 

Keep this up and I'll be a gibbering monkey in an asylum somewhere, trying to remember that abuse and bullying in public is good, and it's especially okay if you just cop all the shit like a good black man, and that doing nothing while locked in my strait jacket is by far the best strategy. You know I'm beginning to think that someone needs to evoke Dr Smith and the robot and deliver a hearty stream of abuse in the direction of this cackling cuckoo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Piers Akerman, Freedom of Speech, Islamics Secularists and Atheists

That fine Melbourne band Tism - yes of course sweet Melbourne has a cultural life as well as heat - contributed a number of notable lyrics to the pantheon of rock.

I've always liked their Yob song:

If it's a party, fight
If its winning, skite
If its politics, right
If its flatulence, light
If its tabloid, believe it
If its broadsheet, don't read it

(And so on. There's a couple of other verses but you catch the drift).

You could even add a few wrinkles:

If it's Akerman, owlish buffoon
If it's Albrechtsen, 2D cartoon
If it's Henderson, pompous paltroon
If it's Tim Blair, gadfly maroon
If it's Duffy, McMansion cocoon
And if it's Bolt ... dunno, never read the man, not even to save the readers of this blog the pain they must endure if they decide they want a genuine Melbourne experience. There's only so many loons can be tackled in a lifetime.

The masked Tism lads (as fine a bunch of lawyers and neer do wells as you could meet) posed some great existential questions in their rhymes, as in their song Whatareya:

You're a yob or you're a wanker -
Take your fucking choice
So who is your favourite genius
James Hird or James Joyce?
You ever seen a live performance?
Join the wanker club
You thought I meant table top dancing?
You're a yobbo, bub

And so on, down to the final lines

Yob or wanker - wanker or yob
Pass me the brush to tar ya;
Make your choice then live your life;
Come on pal, what are ya?

(Here it's necessary to explain, for the benefit of people who don't understand the reference - or indeed anything about the sociopathic society that can somehow embrace Andrew Bolt and AFL football - that James Alan Hird was once the captain of the Essendon Football Club, sometimes known as the Bombers because of their ability to bomb out whenever the going gets tough).

But you know much as I like Tism, they set up a false dichotomy with their lyrics. These days, with the power of syncretism and synergistic thinking, we are able to understand (in a kind of three into one, one into three, holy ghost sort of way) that it's possible for a chappie like Piers Akerman to be both a wanker and a yob.

True, it requires a special kind of genius, and an understated humility about the genius, but Akerman manages to wank in a yobbish way whenever he writes. We can only watch him on the high wire with bated breath, marvelling that he never seems to fall.

This day the fat owl is noble in his defence of freedom, personning the barricades like a brave soldier in Fighting for the right to speak without fear . (Unless of course you happen to be a leftie, a progressive, a liberal, a secular humanist, a dingbat, a pinko, a commie, an arty wanker, or a smart arse young 'un, or a drop dead fucked up do gooder, in which case the humble Akerman will show you what it's like to speak up and cop a shellacking).

Akerman at first seems most moved by the plight of The Fiji Times, which happens to be owned by dear fearless leader Rupert, and which recently copped an A$83,000 fine for publishing a letter critical of Fiji's High Court.

But then he goes on to take in the bizarre case of the wretched Harry Nicloaides, sent down in Thailand for selling ten copies of a  book which made reference to the royal family (okay, fair point).

Then it's on to the Islamic bashing, the Dutch and MP Geert Wilders and his film, and the evils of giving in to Islamics.

Here's what I find funny about all this. Back in the day, it was the hippies that refused to stand up in picture theatres when they played God Save the Queen and all the conservatives hissed or even shouted abuse at the seated figures. That's right, they used to play a British national anthem in Australian theatres, and everybody stood up. The hippies put an end to that nonsense. You only find the new and dreadful anthem being played at football matches for the bogans to sing along to.

And back in the day if you got taught by Dominicans or Sacred Heart types, the nuns would be roaming around in black or brown crow-like clothing that covered them from top to bottom, and in summer in particular it led them to have the most bleak and bitter sweaty look about them. (They looked as funny and as silly as the full head dress worn by traditional desert tribes in the shopping malls of western Sydney). 

These brides of christ, apart from being peculiar in the head as to their marital status, took peculiar delight in torturing small children in the way they themselves were being tortured by the church.

Now apart from the intrinsic absurdity of it all, what changed all this? I'm offering up secular humanists, or just plain old secularism, which found the spectacle so absurd that the various church groupings, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant, ended up abandoning their penguin suits (except when heading off to Rome for a big papal end of year party).

So when Akerman comes up with some examples of what should be done to enrage the Islamics, who does he turn to? Well naturally it's arty types - Danes publishing cartoons, or piss Christ or "the portrait of the Christian Madonna made from elephant dung which has been exhibited in Australian galleries".

But here's the problem for Akerman and his mates. Whenever a secular humanist or an arty wanker bungs on a do, they're usually in the first rank criticising them for taking cheap pot shots at Christianity, at Christ, loons like Cardinal Pell or that aberrant heresy Jensenism.

Let's remember this for a long time:

Dictators don't want the truth told about their governments, kings don't want to be shown to be mortal and religious zealots want to be able to dictate to their followers without fear of being questioned (just like right wing commentators when it comes to global warming).

Civilisation has progressed through a series of challenges and enlightenments, not through censorious diktats.

We must cherish the freedoms of speech and press that we have and we must fight to maintain and expand them or we, too, will see our culture retrogress into the dark ages of humbug and zealotry.

... we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender ... some chicken, some neck.

Oops, that last bit was from Churchill, but it seemed to fit so well with what the fat owl was saying, about personning the battlements and bashing up the Islamics.

Clearly it's possible to be both a wanker and a yob. Akerman shows how.

But finally, in the end, my beautiful friend, here's the rub old chum, you need to get the arty wankers and the secular humanists and the secularists and the good old atheists on your side. They're the ones who think Islam is just a crock of crap like all the other crocks of crap that have been sold to the punters over the last few thousand years.

I'd like to see that. Akerman riding into battle with the atheists. Bring it on, horseman of the apocalypse, let's ride to save civilisation together, but then you must foreswear your vile ways when it comes to scientists, feminists, lefties, atheist commies, black heathens, pro choicers, lesbians, poofters in general, idealists, pornography lovers, optimists, bondage devotees, academics with a secularist tendency, people who care about the earth, gaia freaks, and new age types as loony as Ruth Ostrow. You know, all the ones that get bashed by Islamic fundamentalists and right wing columnists.

Choking on it? Surely not. The earth and freedom of speech is there to be saved, you just need to wank in a new way with a new bunch of chums. Come on Akkers, come on, close your eyes, think of England and do your Churchillian duty.

Paul Kent, Aussie Thugs, Flag Waving, Black Mischief, Akerman, Albrechtsen and the Islamics

A quiet day for the loons down on loon pond, perhaps reflecting the exhaustion induced by a wildly exciting nationalistic jingoistic round of Australia Day celebrations.

Over at The Daily Terror poor old Paul Kent seems to think that Thugs ruined our national day. He doesn't seem to have caught up with the message delivered by Piers Akerman (with footnotes and references, such an intellectual) that as usual it was the blacks and disastrous welfare policies and Mick Dodson, black activist, being named Australian of the Year that ruined the souffle.

Kent rails at clueless, drunken mobs clutching at the Australian flag and rampaging through the streets. He moans that it's become a fashion accessory, a cape for alter-egos: "Our flag is their uniform. Their Southern Cross tattoos the going standard for patriotism. You disapprove, then you just don't get it."

On and on he rants, but fortunately none of this has anything to do with racism or with the Cronulla riots or wog bashing or the mentality of the Shire and the Bra Boys seeping through the land. No, for an explanation, Kent turns to that informed plod Manly Superintendent Dave Darcy - Manly being such an exemplary example of rioting youths put under a firm hand.

Now a few cynics might think the brazen new loonish right wing behavior might have had something to do with the brazen dog whistling done by John Howard during his long reign - you know the 'we will decide who comes here' stuff echoed by loons ranting 'we grew here, you flew here' (not to mention the quiet embrace of Pauline Hansonism when it suited) 

Howard on occasions fancied himself as the new Captain Francis de Groot, slashing ribbons before the pinkos and the Commies and the Pacific Islanders and the Islamists got a chance to do their thing.

But no - no simple minded explanations for Supt Darcy. It's all the fault of public education, started way back in 1988 when the muted bicentennial celebrations revealed a growing apathy for Australia Day. "From there a deliberate effort was made in schools to recognise and celebrate, the results now coming through".

And in 1988, who was in charge? That's right. Bloody Bob Hawke and his stupid cheering on of Alan Bond and the boxing kangaroo. It's all his fault, these bloody louts and racist vandals. And the teachers, don't forget the bloody stupid pinko teachers and their stupid union.

Phew, for a moment, I thought things like, y'know, linking the funding of public schools to their willingness to own and hoist a flag outside their schools on a daily basis reflected a certain attitude. Y'know, like that prime doufus Brendan Nelson being keen we all sing our wretched anthem and raise our wretched, half-baked colonial flag with a dash of England in the corner.

Why it wasn't so long ago (only back in 2006) that the airheaded Julie Bishop was saying "every morning when I was at primary school we sang the national anthem and raised the school flag and it was something that I remember with some fondness. As I travel around Australia and visit schools the children seem to share that same pride in singing the anthem and putting up the flag. I think it's a wonderful thing".

And so it is. Drape it around your neck, drop a few stubbies - the right of every Australian, man woman and child - and go out on the street to hound and harass. What could be more right, more Aussie, more oi oi oi than that. Yep, when it comes to sociological analysis you can rely on The Daily Terror's tabloid insights to set you on the straight and narrow.

Kent even links to Piers Akerman's "Australia Day debate" in which the fat owl of the remove clearly establishes that life was so tough for the blacks (no fish, no game, drought cycles, storms and cyclones) it was inevitable that once the whities arrived, the blacks would sit down and become dole bludgers. After all "There was more to life than sitting on a beach shucking oysters - little wonder that food provided by missions at station owners was so attractive".

Okay a typo makes that somewhat incoherent (more Akermanish than usual) but you get the picture. It was dem blacks coming to massa in search of watermelons that brings us the pickl we all currently in. What a chenius, what an intellectual our Akerman is. Still he stops short of making Australia Day 'bash a black' day. I guess he wants to keep it an unofficial amateur sport untainted by professionalism or competence.

By the bye, what Akerman and his use of the willow against dole bludging blacks has to do with rioting white youths is a little beyond me, but there you go.

Anyway, it seems we can no longer to to the cricket - you know, it's just too risky, with every good chance that louts like Andrew Symonds will call you a shit, and knock you down like a pansy dressed in tutus in a Schweppes lemonade-lover commercial. Oh sorry, newsflash, it's actually the rampaging thugs in the crowd that's the problem, not that bunch of bloody losers who couldn't beat South Africa, even if the overthrow of the Mugabe regime hinged on the result.

Over at The Australian Janet Albrechtsen embarks on an extensive rant about Caving in to Islamists.

Let's face it, the main problem in Australia, once you get past the dole-bludging blacks, is the presence of Islamists. For a start, angry youths like to attack Islamics, and whose fault is that? Clearly the Islamics for turning up, with their yowling and their weird praying and their beards and their strange dress sense (like black and all over).

Yep, Albrechtsen knows where the problem is and it's with those pansied Dutch judges who let the Islamics get away with it.

It's all very predictable stuff, about thought police and so on. Before you think I'm on the side of Islamic oppression of ideas (since all religions introduce an instant phobia in me, whether scientological, thetan, christian, jewish, buddhist, hindu or baha'i), and while it's tempting to get on the side of Islamic clerics because anything Albrechtsen rants about contains so many distortions, half truths and wild loonish prejudices, I do think it's wonderful that the dear old possum is in favor of hate speech, and stirring up trouble, all in the valiant cause of seeking truth (in much the same way as our dear leader Adolph Hitler sought the truth at every opportunity. Did I mention we had German genes in the family?)

No, no, what I want to see from Albrechtsen is a full on rant savaging the Holy Roman Church, and for example its recent dance with the fiercely anti-semitic mob who believe in the Latin mass and hold the Jews responsible for killing Christ. Worse, mainstream Catholics, currently, right now, as we go about our daily business, are involved in the malicious, mendacious business of spreading lies and follies worse than the idea of Santa Claus in their private education system, indoctrinating our children and ruining young minds, supported by the government and by Christians like Kevin Rudd! Right here, right now, in Oorstraylia!

And when she's done that, how about a rant about Stephen Conroy, who after all is the new Kevin Andrews, and who is quietly and calmly going about the business of filtering the internet in ways that make Dutch Islamists look like kindergarten students. Y'know, to block all the pornography that upsets Islamic and Christian fundamentalists (not to mention the odd political idea that might upset politicians).

But no the sweet possum is only worried about our vilification laws, so she won't mind if I call her a cackleminded dunderheard. All in the interests of free speech and deeper insights. Meantime, she really needs to get over her obsession with Islamics and right wing Dutch loons.

The one thing you can say about fundamentalists and extremists is that they're desperate to abuse each other, and to preserve the right to abuse each other, and in the process they tear apart any moderating forces in the land. 

John Howard and his wild young things stalking the streets are just one example. 

Fundie Janet v fundie Islamic in a nitro charged night on the mat promising smackdown thunder might sell a few tickets (or a few papers) but really just delivers bigotry and righteousness.

My solution? Nuke them all and let Xenu sort it out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Janet Albrechtsen, Piers Akerman, and the noble Aussie sport of black bashing

Poor old Mick Dodson, that black Irish bastard so unloved by Gerard Henderson, has brought out the hounds in force by suggesting Australia Day might be moved because it's associated with the first landing.

Golly, with that kind of thinking, he might bring down the whole fabric of society.

Over at The Australian (proudly owned by an American) Janet Albrechtsen has the snot well and truly up her nose. "An ungracious winner" she sniffs in Dodson proves an ungracious winner. Why don't these vexatious blacks lie down and take it. We all know that "For most Australians, that day marks the beginning of a nation built on the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty."

Guess it's only a few Australians who actually read Australian history, and thereby realise that when the poms arrived they were setting up a penal colony, built on class law and class punishment, designed to torment the poor, the differently religious and the bloody vexatious Irish. I know it's fashionable these days to boast of a convict first fleeter connection, but to lecture Dodson about Australian history, and then to change it within the breath, takes a profound arrogance only Albrechtsen could muster. She really is trying hard for the Ann Coulter award for colonial capering ... or a hundred lashes for being dumbly insubordinate.

Over at The Daily Terror, the fat owl of the remove aka Piers Akerman keeps up with the black bashing of his colleagues with Let's talk about the realities Mr Dodson.

The fat owl does his level best to prove that there was no Roussau-like idyll in Australia, no noble savage myth, before the noble white man came to save the black man from his struggle to survive (because life wasn't meant to be easy). 

There's nothing like the sight of a fat owl venting his spleen about the vexatious blacks before heading off to the tuck shop to get his tuck, a hard day's typing done.

The punchline? Somehow all this links to welfare dependency, the ultimate refusal of blacks to work for and be screwed (without benefit of vaseline) by the likes of Vesty, the ALP, and there being more to life than sitting on a beach shucking oysters. The pesky blacks have to get off their arses and work for a living - you don't get doughnuts by sitting around when there's the urgent need to put distorted, half-arsed history into newsprint.

Who'd want to be a black in Australia today? Especially when confronted by the likes of intellectuals (sic) like Akerman ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gerard Henderson, Dirty Jokes, Irish Blacks, Blue Heelers and you beaut oi oi oi Australia Day

Anyhoo, while on the subject of Internet porn, I once made the mistake of putting the term 'dirty joke' in a column header, and ever since then I've been visited by googlers in search of same.

Well I'm not into bait and switch - trust me - and so here's a link to a hoary old classic entitled The Hunter and the Bear. It's not the best version, in fact it's a pretty lame and wet version, but by definition all dirty jokes are cascading gags of tumescent silliness (and you googlers should get your act together, there are more dirty jokes out there than you can shake a stick or a penis at, just not on a site dedicated to loons and loonacy).

The hunter and the bear is at least  joke of the right kind - it's a shaggy dog kind of frolic, as all the best porn jokes are. You can string it out for hours, or at least until someone in the audience strangles you, by remembering only a couple of elements. First there's a hunter who keeps trying to kill a bear using an ever-escalating level of armament, while the bear punishes the hunter in whichever way gets you and your audience going (anal, oral, furry, missionary, stockings and corsets, leather gear, yadda yadda), until you eventually come out with the punchline, which has the bear say to the hunter: you're not coming here for the hunting are you? In the hands of a lascivious teller, you can feel dirty and sordid, as if you'd lived through a 1,001 nights of lechery (please always make sure you come out with the punchline. No coitus interruptus allowed here).

Well yes, but the point about lame dirty jokes is that they're the kind of thing you tell while pissed as a parrot in a pine forest gathered around the keg with your mates until one man drops to the ground and everyone else pisses on him (or so my partner tells me. Captains of industry, MPs, doctors, solicitors, farmers, all doing it. Lordy lordy. Send me money in a plain brown envelope to keep these names secret - y'all know who you are, you Armidale UNE and Farrer boys - and all will be well).

The miscegenation element also appeals to me, as apparently bestiality and all that kind of stuff is what gets the likes of Jim Wallace and other god botherers going (never mind that the bear representing the animal world is endowed with a knowing, transcendental awareness of the follies of human sexuality).  

Worse - alert Will Robinson and Jim Wallace - this kind of joke is only a link away from the innocent minds of twelve year old boys (though strangely I remember hearing it when I was ten in the school yard when the internet was only a dream. How weird is that? And you don't once have to mention poddy calves, kiwis and sheep were the source of much fun in the good ol' yard!)

Anyhoo, I can think of nothing better than a dirty joke as a throw to that Polonius of the written word, that advisor of Princes and Potentates, that desiccated coconut Gerard Henderson, who manages to reduce any issue to a dull, dry, dense treatise which displays a Valium-like capacity to stupefy and render silly (whatever happened to pseudo ephedrine and that pink bit in the middle of cough tablets? Oh that's right John Howard banned them, so that now sinus sufferers know what it's like to be criminal as they try to get their fix, or foolishly they end up buying the new brands of chemicals being peddled as sinus cures that simply don't work. Not that I'm a bitter sinus sufferer. But maybe this helps explain why Gerard Henderson is so dull these days - the cough mixture isn't working so well).

Sorry, that shows a terrible sensa huma  (said in Jim Carrey falsetto, please Mr Henderson type lawyer it was a joke, though you could do Jerry Lewis if you're old enough). Anyhoo, Mr Henderson this week in a mind numbingly tedious way addresses the serious issue of Oorstralia Day and what it means to be black in Settle down - it's our defining day (the header captures the tone nicely, speaking to blacks as if you'd speak to a blue heeler - settle, settle). 

Poor Gerard is upset about Mick Dodson suggesting that Australia Day (aka invasion day) be shifted, especially because it's now very popular amongst the young as a long weekend for flag waving, and getting pissed as parrots in the dinkum Australian way.

And his rebuttal of Dodson is typically frank and fiercely honest - what the fuck would Dodson know since basically he's Irish black (though I seem to remember that in Roddy Doyle's The Commitments one of the band says they're proud "The Irish are the niggers of Europe, lads".)

And because Dodson is - well, let's be brutally frank, is Irish as well as black -  he's not just the invaded, he's also partly the invader. And let's be brutally frank, half the blacks who do the 'welcome to country' down south are noticeably relatively fair-skinned. So as well as doing a black welcome to country, they should be doing an Anglo Irish jig or reciting a bit of Yeats to acknowledge their Irish heritage (never mind you might get called an abo or a boong, or a coon for being black, yere Irish me lad, Gerard says so, and being black and the niggers of Europe just doesn't make you a hundred per cent black. Youse all just immigrant scum like the rest of us).

You see, as Gerard goes on, in his frank and honest style, oh worthy Polonius that he is, we're all just imports, and so what if a few got here 40,000 rather than 200 years ago. And anyhoo they were black and didn't keep track of when they landed. So why not celebrate 1788 as the day the poms arrived, the important white folk, with the most refined and genteel culture, which explains why they once had a glorious empire and now a wonderful queen, and long may she reign over us, and therefore it being the most important day in this country's fair history, and most especially seeing as how ... it's when Gerard's forebears arrived (I'm guessing that bit, but you have to think with a name like Henderson, aka "son of Henry" or "home ruler" you'd have to think Gerard boasts of English and Scottish forebears, with not a trace of Irish scum, deserving of Cromwellian lashing, in the gene pool).

Then in the usual black politics way, Henderson seizes on a few comments by other black players - ALP heavy Warren Mundine and Lew Griffiths (a sidekick of right wing commentariet favorite Noel Pearson) to suggest that Dodson's just a useless stirrer, always at loggerheads with government.

You see, Mundine, Pearson and some other people who fell into line with John Howard's invasion of the north are doing their bit for isolated indigenous communities, but Mick Dodson called the intervention "storm-trooper diplomacy".

And we know one thing's for sure - anyone who tramples on John Howard also tramples on Gerard Henderson's tin-pot god and must be made to pay, double points if you call his policies like something to do with Nazi Germany.

So to the capper: "The focus on reconciliation should be on improving the plight of Aborigines along the lines of those who are more interested in practical outcomes than theoretical rights".

You know, like John Howard. After ignoring the plight of Aborigines for ten long years in his godforsaken reign, in the run up to his last and fatal election, he was threshing around for a new issue, when he bizarrely hit on the idea of fixing things in the north, as he was interested in a practical outcome - his re-election. 

It was of course a desperate idea and it produced a predictable result, but let's not think that should get in the way of dreamers who just want to talk about "theoretical rights". And let's not imagine that practical outcomes have been achieved, apart from plans to close down remote settlements and herd the pesky blacks into town camps. Come back George Augustus Robinson, all is forgiven.

Let's face it, blacks (and especially those tainted pesky Irish blacks) have always been a problem, the white man's burden, and you have to talk to and treat them like children (a tone and manner Henderson most primly, pompously and persuasively adopts). And if you treat them and talk to them like children, it's a very good way to ensure they stay as children. So they can continue to be a burden and a problem, always a problem (not to mention dole bludgers).

Successful reconciliation? Not in my lifetime,and not so long as Gerard Henderson is leading the pack like a braying hound still running for the re-election of John Howard. Poor old Mick Dodson, that hapless black Irish bastard, who just happens to be called Australian of the Year for his active work in the aboriginal community, next time he mixes a metaphor or tries to start a conversation with white Australia, he should just settle, settle ... (or better still, get around behind).

You'll notice that I spent more time writing about dirty jokes than the insights of Mr Henderson, and I suspect there's a reason. The dirty jokes have more sociological and psychological value than the insights of Mr Henderson, especially when applied to the institutionalized form of interaction between certain related people in certain societies. I'm particularly drawn to the title of Donald F. Thomson's article The Joking Relationship and Organized Obscenity in North Queensland, which will, if applied the right way, explain all you need to know about the hows and whys of running the Liberal National (nee National) and Labor parties in Queensland.

It also might explain the organised obscenity of Gerard Henderson, since clearly he thinks the joking relationship he has with Irish blacks allows condescension, and a patronising, arrogant tone which would be beyond belief if it weren't so predictable and expected ...

And anyway how dare Dodson think of shifting Australia day when it's bloody hot, and the rightful culmination of a month of bludging and drinking. That's the right time for any thinking Australian to hit the beach, crack a stubbie, wave a flag, run riot in Manly, bash a wog, then head back to the rigors of work. 

And that reminds me, you see there's this black hunter and a bear (never mind, it's a koala bear), so you see there's this black hunter and a koala bear (yes it could be Gerard Henderson in a furry suit, no he's not one of those Wilderness Society dudes), and so anyhoo there's this black hunter and Gerard Henderson ...

Jim Wallace, Christians, the Intertubes, Censorship, and the binding briars

There are fools and there are fundamentalists, but it's fair to say that while not all fools are fundamentalists, all fundamentalists are certainly fools.

So we come to the strange case of Jim Wallace, the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby (whatever that might be) and his piece for the Sydney Morning Herald coyly entitled Filtering filth will not tangle the net.

My usual experience of Christians is when they congregate on a road around the corner each Saturday or so to picket an abortion facility, and hector young women seeking an abortion (as well as savage the staff). It must place a constant strain on the people going there for whatever reason, to see these crow-like loons and their placards stationed outside, abusing them for doing what they do.

Some probably attend as a side-benefit from a Christian sex education (well benefit is hardly the right word), and the behavior of the placard bearing Christians is about as un-Christian as Christ could imagine, but being loons, they somehow think that savaging young women is good for the world. (Whenever anyone talks about what a fine job George Bush and his team did in Africa, I think about the chastity-driven, anti-condom, anti-sex education loonacy of it all).

The stupidity of Jim Wallace's piece is on a different plane, but his willingness to interfere in the rights and activities of others comes from the same repressive heart as all fundamentalists.

The technological stupidity of his piece is neatly encapsulated in the title Filtering filth will not tangle the net.

His is the usual rant about how 93% of parents of 12 to 17 year olds want filtering, how tests show it won't block an unacceptable level of legal material, and how any filtering won't degrade performance (saying that the activist group GetUp! has mounted an alarmist fear campaign).

He should have said that filtering works so well in North Korea and China and certain middle East countries that Australia would be well to be in such exemplary human rights company.

Yet there's not one word about how he and his Government intends to reduce the Internet to a vehicle which can be safely navigable by five year olds (presuming that even a five year old knows how to click on a mouse and access the most awful depravity).

As usual, it wouldn't be a Christian piece without a dash of Christian humbuggery and Pecksniffian hypocrisy. "The internet is a fabulous resource for everyone, including our young people, but it has the potential to cause great harm if reasonable safeguards are not put in place. The real story here is not the dreadful repercussions of having internet filtering, but the dreadful repercussions of not having it".

Essence of argument: won't someone think of the children. Wallace, the Reverend Timothy Lovejoy and his charming wife Helen are as one.

What Wallace doesn't seem to know is that the mechanisms for defeating the proposed filtering are already in place, though they are irritating to use. They are best known by 12 to 17 year olds who are already expert in defeating all kinds of filters put in place in schools and other public locations. 

Does he really think he's going to be able to stop porn when no one has been able to stop music and video piracy? Does he really think he and his minions can do better than China, where the net is now porous and the holes growing wider by the day? Does he wonder why Telstra has refused to take a place in the current round of trials? ( and no it's not just because Telstra hates Conroy and the government, though that might be part of it, and suddenly I don't hate Telstra so much). 

Does he really imagine that any filtering system will help catch the most active and problematic kind of pornography - namely child pornography - when the internet offers all kinds of systems and encryptions to help keep them safe?

Does he really think binding up the world's desires in his five thousand year old briars (call it a morality system) is the way forward? 

Does he understand that the best way to police the internet is to ... actually police the internet ... you know, with skilled police who can catch and charge child pornographers, and patrol and catch the actual molesters who stalk the youth boards for prey? And that using a filter as an alternative is like using a giant club to swat a fly which just so happens to have gone elsewhere when the club lands on the actual cow pat?

Does he understand that as soon as the filtration system is introduced, a whole bevvy of bright young things will immediately work out fresh new ways to subvert it quickly and easily, because that's the way it is these days? Has he ever followed the trajectory of the movie studios as they watched first dvd, then hddvd, then the jewel in the crown, blu ray encryption reverse engineered, hacked and overthrown by nerds so bright I get blinded by the light? (Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night).

Does he understand all he and Conroy will do is create more levels of grey and dark space on the internet where people can troll at their leisure?

Well actually no, and of course for one reason if not many others: he's a Christian and thereby believes in talking snakes (and if not talking snakes, then virgin births, burning bushes, water into wine, the rapture, the imminent end of the world, the presence of dinosaurs on Noah's Ark, and the redemptive joy of eating flesh and drinking blood).

Wallace and Conroy might think a new age of infantilism is the way forward, but if either of them think this will stop the growing rage amongst adults in this country, they should do a double reverse back flip think. What we don't need to do is end up back in the days of scandals and stupidities of the kind Christians like Wallace produced over Joyce's Ulysses, Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover, and Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint.

Okay that's the high brow end of the argument, but I also don't mind a bit of pornography either. And I don't see why I should be deprived of it, because these Christian parents are unable to keep a tight reign on their children (well we know they can't, even the daughter of the Governor of Alaska likes to fornicate out of wedlock before a shotgun wedding sets everything aright). And here I'm not talking about professionals, since the stuff they peddle is usually awful, but cheerful amateurs enjoying sex. That's right, enjoying sex (ssshh, don't tell the children. They might get the idea they can enjoy sex too).

Will nothing rid us of these meddlesome, meddling priests?

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

One man's filth is another man's pleasure, one woman's joy is Helen Lovejoy's eternal damnation. Why Wallace thinks he can rule my life by pleading for the children of others is just the start of our fight. And as always with Christians it's supposed to be for my good and the good of the community. Sadly Islamic fundamentalists around the world would agree with him about the decadence of the west. But rather than bomb it from the outside, Wallace wants to go around fucking over its technological crowning glory from the inside. Talk about irony.

So long as Conroy keeps doing what he's doing, federal Labor will not get my vote, but they will get my active, elephant-memoried hostility.

Now go in peace, sanctity and utter boredom on this magical Australia Day and spread the word (and remember it was only an invasion up to the point they gave you a gong and a wonderful title). 

Save the children and let adults return to their old, abandoned Penthouses gathering dust under the bed.

Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun
Oh but mama that's where the fun is.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tim Blair, Bush, Turkeys, Conspiracies and rewriting history

Just a note so you don't have to look. Good ol' Tim Blair is still fighting the good fight. In his blog, he can get away with simple minded fun, but the level of banality he's forced to reveal in an actual column is remarkable, as you can see in full shuddering 3D in Bush haters look like turkeys.

As usual, it's a fervid, fervent account of how the Bush haters get it all wrong, and how Blair and his acolytes get it all right. (Repeat after me, Bush and Homer good, Bart really baaad).

Let's count the ways - Obama only got 2.2 per cent more of the popular vote, the liberal media hate Bush (they wrote more stories about Obama's inauguration than Bush's),  and this good - maybe not great - president did wonderful things against the Taliban (oops about bin Laden, but hey Obama shares the dream), and then there was the wonderful triumph in Iraq, and then he did the right thing about the warming planet by leaving it alone, and then - oh no, it's time to recycle the David Hanson stuff about how did Bush interfere with your civil liberties - just name one thing please.

Enough already please. The re-writing of history always requires indefatigable zealotry, but enough already. But wait, what's this you buggers out there didn't rise to this remarkably silly and meaningless challenge (a better phrasing might be rat or mouse bait). 

"Responses were few at press time", notes the Blair, as if this actually means something. Well it means factoid drivel to fill up a column in The Daily Terror, but bugger all else. 

"Perhaps all the victims of Bush's freedom-crushing hatred now lie decomposing in secret Freedom Pits located across the nation," rambles on the faithful Blair, triumphant in his understanding of everything to do with the noble Bush and paranoid liberal conspiracy theories. Or maybe his readers just don't work in the Justice Department. Or maybe they did, but didn't need to share their fate with the half-crazed Blair or the maddened Hanson.

It's a bit like Melbourne Storm losers trying to explain how they really won the grand final against Manly but managed somehow to lose it 40-0. (Let's not talk about the New England Patriots, any of you real football lovers out there).

Let me say it again. Losers. You can take your plastic turkey conspiracy and shove it. You're losers. You're stupider than George Bush, who knows he's out of the game. You keep on fighting about whether he was stupid or not, as a way of demonstrating your stupidity and your inability to let the past go. 

You know, as one insensitive young person put to me (infected as he is with a whopping dose of political incorrectness), arguing on the Internet is a bit like the special Olympics - even if you win, you lose.

But I don't believe that. I genuinely believe that Tim Blair is trying to achieve a higher understanding. He's not arguing George Bush is wonderfully intelligent. He's just saying everybody apart from him and a few other of the elect in a special band of brothers understands things in a way no one else can.

You can imagine their suffering as the barbarians storm the gates, tear apart the castle, trample on the magical dreams they shared with their man those eight long years. It's postpartum depression, a long slow drift into the twilight gleaming of complete irrelevance.

My only thought, and it's maybe a long shot? Take some hippie therapy. I believe eucalyptus leaves and tea tree oil might offer the best hope. Whatever you do, leave the turkey baster in the oven (or somewhere a lesbian in need might find it), and give up the snake oil.

It's over. Over. Over. Now click your heels and disappear to Kansas.

Miranda Devine, heroes, Afghanistan, and the ways of warriors

Back in Tamworth again. In the heart of the heartland. In the northern Wasilla of New South Wales, the antipodean Nashville, home to country music.

Because I'm in the heartland, my views have an unexpected clarity and depth. The tang of the earth, the movement of the stars in a deep velvety black that stretches forever with three dimensional vividness, the food and entertainment at Maguires, the steak at Hog's Breath, the orange and marmalade preserve from Nundle, the rough, raw, true and honest heat. Up here we're the clod and the pebble meet, and the Buddha-like insights are almost painful. Something you city slickers will never know. How we pity you city slickers with your fandangled fancy pants ways.

I think that's why I almost spotted Gerard Henderson up here, wearing his favourite John Howard imitation hat, the one that imitated the one squatters like to wear. Indeedy, everybody to the right understands the virtues of the bush and the profound ignorance of city slickers. And it certainly explains why the lead footed Duffster, esteemed columnist Michael Duffy for The Sydney Morning Herald loves the suburbs. So much closer to the squawking of parrots.

But strangely there's no Michael Duffy this week in the online edition of the Herald. Does this mean the Herald has come to its senses? (Having given up the hard copy version, guess I'll never know).

Well no because the Herald still employs Miranda Devine. This week she offers the kind of insight we use to get way back when in Tamworth Public School (motto Aim High), in Heroes who fight the good fight.

Most of it is a standard celebration of VC winner trooper Mark Donaldson, but let's leave aside the bulk of the piece, which is a standard bit of hagiography about the modest fighter, who in the standard way insists that he's not a hero, he's a soldier.

That explains why Miranda Devine calls him a hero. For what would trooper Donaldson know about being trooper Donaldson up against the razor-sharp insights of the Devine?

And she's a real investigator. "There are clues to Donaldson's character in his childhood in the small town of Dorrigo, in the green rolling hinterland 60 kilometres from Coffs Habour." Natch. He's from the bush.

But wait, what's this? Donaldson's father Greg "had been conscripted to Vietnam in 1970, at age 22, and had returned with 'major issues' about conscription and the way veterans were treated, Beamont says. He never talked about the war, except in the six months before his death."

Now there's a story worth exploring. Back in the day, the likes of Devine were baying for conscription and blood and the Vietnam war, and when the poor buggers came back, it wasn't just the hippies that berated them. The government ignored them. After forcing them to train to be killers whether they liked it or not, with the only real alternatives a spell in Long Bay or going underground.

But the right wing commentariet always likes to keep moving along, not dwelling on the past, so that's all we read about that.

Instead it's on to the family background of Donaldson, and then the sweeping wrap up: "We may never really understand what makes Mark Donaldson tick but we can admire him and the other Australian soldiers who fight in our name".

And by implication - because there's always an implication - never you mind about questioning what we're doing in Afghanistan - even President Obama is ramping up against Taliban resurgence - because to do so would be to attack the troops and brave soldiers like Donaldson.

So at the very point where the Devine ends, the real questions begin. Admire the man, and the others who fight in our name, but just what are we trying to achieve in Afghanistan that puts the likes of Donaldson in the way of danger?

The Russians spent ten years there, and achieved diddly squat, especially because the Americans (and others like Saudia Arabia, the UK, and Pakistan) started shoveling money and aid towards warlords and the resistance movement, while at the same time foreign fighters came into the country, including the likes of Osama bin Laden, to begin to learn the trade they later plied around the world.

The Soviets lost the war, and now the US is in the process of bogging down for another ten years in the same country (which as we all know thanks to the Ruddster is a hell hole).

It used to be that in the old days of Empire, individuals were held up as examples to others about proper heroic behaviour - which usually involved going off to strange lands to give the original owners a hard time, or indulging in wars between imperial powers attempting to keep the best of the booty to themselves.

Devine never asks these sorts of questions, and maybe she thinks the piece about Donaldson isn't the right place to ask them. But you can see why a simple minded celebration of heroes - which concludes with a 'we may never understand' closer - is her forte. She's never asked the tough questions of herself, or of her addiction to the warriors and the ways of war. 

A touch of ambivalence or humility in her other columns when it comes to the four legs good, two legs bad, kill them all policy statements she's prone to, would be a refreshing rustic insight I never expect to read. 

An examination of what we actually hope to achieve in the quagmire would be on my must read list, but I never expect to see it.

We might never know what makes a Donaldson tick - especially cowards like me - but it would be nice to know what makes the policy settings for the current adventure in Afghanistan tick, and a reflexive evocation of the Bali bombings simply doesn't cut it, at least if you've moved beyond Tamworth Public School and Sir Henry Newbolt.

Come back Duffy. All is forgiven. Give us a piece about NSW infrastructure no one cares about and doesn't require any thinking.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tim Blair, Dares Ya, Dubbya Dares ya, and Illogical Idiocy

There's something peculiarly infantile and childish about right wing opinion these days - especially when delivered in pithy grabs designed for the internet.

Take Tim Blair's glee in quoting Victor Davis Hanson, asking for 'even one instance of the loss of any freedom under Bush". The catch of course in this game is the 'gotcha' component - it has to apply to you personally, not (to cite but one of many examples) to the thousands who lost their lives in Iraq. (It's a pity he's dead, one character says in Generation Kill about an Iraqi blown away in a pointless moment, he would have enjoyed democracy - to which both Hanson and Tim Blair would both add, shut up, dead men can't play the game).

But come to think of it, there's no need for any kind of response when confronted with illogical idiocy presented as some kind of rational argument. It'd be like taking Homer seriously in the episode of The Simpsons where he assumes the role of college jock, takes on the nasty Dean, and wages vigorous war on the nerds.

Why, you might ask?  Because it's in his nature, as the scorpion said to the frog. And that's about the level of infantilism you can expect these days on the loony right - really you have to think, as a result of the impotent rage they built up during the Clinton years, and then maintained as they were reduced to the same levels of mumbling incoherence and incompetence as the clay god they elevated before themselves.

Now they intend to go on maintaining the same kind of rage during the Obama years. Is there a psychiatrist in the house?

Funny that, how the world fucked up under Bush, but nobody on the right thinks he's to blame. Just name one example, just name one single solitary example, where the Shrub didn't call it right and walk on water. Dares ya! Huh, thought so, ya lily livered chicken. Couldn't could ya, ya maggot. Ya drink ya bathwater, ya yellow streak of misery.

O O O O that Shakespeherian rag, it's so elegant, so intelligent.

Is Tim Blair about to do a Brad Pitt and show us a real world example of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? He's already hit around age twelve, but if he keeps on going this way, he'll be down to five within the week.

No link. It only encourages them. And I've had it with nappies and toilet training.

Frank Devine, George Bush, What If, the Shrub and Frost Nixon

It wasn't enough for the world that god gave it Miranda the Devine, and said let her write, since the world can never have enough nonsense.

No, it's a genetic thing, and there is good old Frank Devine, still fighting the culture wars, as expected in the American owned The Australian. And what does the noble Devine call his latest piece - why as you'd expect of a cracked 78 rpm shellac recording of the old school, History will smile on Bush.

This of course an easy way of getting out of present, hard reality - that poor old George was booed out of the White House with record unpopularity figures.

Never mind, in Bizarro land, it's important to dream. Frank, for example, borrowing - or homaging, as all right wing cultists with sheep mentality do - the thoughts of Fred Barnes, comes up with a nice 'what if' proposition - what if Al Gore had been in charge, and followed through on global warming? (That allows Frank to fire off both barrels of his antique shotgun in the general direction of "environmental zealots").

What if John Kerry, that "embroiderer of his own combat experiences in Vietnam", would have been in charge of the war in Iraq?

He never bothers to ask what if that service-dodging, combat-avoiding George Bush had been in charge. Would Kerry (swiftboated by people who share Devine's mentality) have been so cavalier with the lives of others? 

Well shucks folks, seems to me if you actually serve, then your service should be trashed if it's librul service. Kerry didn't really stand up for country, not like George did by ducking actual warfare. Libruls don't know how to fight, or if they fight, they lie about it, pretend, make it up. Snivelling libruls.

But enough of "what ifs" - Frank could build a world out of 'what ifs' to match Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.

No, let's talk about the hard, grinding world of politics: 

"American voters also take responsibility for the individuals on whom they bestow the enormous burdens of the presidency. Respect for their achievements and understanding of their weaknesses eventually develop, even of profoundly unpopular presidents".

"Frank Langella's sympathetic, tour de force performance as Richard Nixon in Frost-Nixon is an indication of this."

"Bush, amiable and graceful of style, will have a lighter task in regaining the American public's esteem, after exiting with low, low standing in opinion polls".

Can't you just see it - poor old Frank swooning over Frank Langella doing Tricky Dick and thinking all is forgiven (you know, the way everybody forgives Darth Vader at the end of Star Wars, because heck he was just a dad wanting the best for his son, and killing a few million people and a couple of worlds along the way was his way of showing it).

You can imagine old Frank shuffling out of the theatre, tears still streaming down his eyes, thinking by god, Tricky Dick was right to bomb the shit out of Cambodia, look at Vietnam these days, a thriving communist government in charge of a thriving capitalist economy. So much achieved with a little minor destruction (pity about democracy and the dominoes).

But wait there's more: "Bush's record has been distorted by The New York Time's campaign against him: the most vicious, relentless and shallow assault on a president I have observed in many years of acquaintance with American journalism".

There you have it. It's all the fault of The New York Times. Those bloody American liberals. But wait, god has already punished them: "But the Times is suffering a backlash for its excesses in the form of of diminished circulation, earnings and reputation. The little Sir Echoes it recruited, at home and abroad (including here) would be wise to begin looking for wriggle room".

Phew, that's a relief. There are some fools out there who think the Times is suffering from the impact of the internet and the requirement to find new ways of doing business and journalism in these wired times. Stupid analysts - it's the vengeance of Bush, Devine and all like-minded sympathisers, who've just refused to do business with the wretched Times on high falutin' moral grounds. Yep God smote the people of Ashdod for their vile ways.

Sometimes you wonder whether Frank wanders into the desert, with a typewriter and without water, so he can rise to the high-minded hysteria his paranoia requires.

But that's about the best of it - then it's on to how wise Bush was in his response to 9/11 (Frank doesn't seem to have twigged to the way the Times designed the attack on the Twin Towers as a desperate, flailing attempt to boost their circulation), how wise Bush was to believe in WMDS, how wise Bush was to overcome some early minor stumbles in Iraq, how much warmer in personality Bush was than Reagan, and how wise Bush was to order the amazingly successful surge.

Then the wrap-up: "History takes more note of the outcome of military conflict than of process". (Sure, what happened in World War Two again? Never mind, SBS's programming would fall to pieces without the Nazis).

"The American commentator Charles Krauthammer sees an Iraq "turned from aggressive hostile power in the heart of the Middle East to an emerging democracy openly allied with the United States"." (So an American loon says it, so it must be true. All that blather by the New York Times and the liberals about the alarming rise in Islamic fundamentalist tendencies in the new Shia-dominated government in Iraq is well, just blather. Unless you happen to be a woman in Iraq, but as we all know, it's entirely appropriate to beat your wife and rape her if she won't put out).

Suddenly I feel a song coming on:

Short-haired Bushies come out every night
To tell you what's wrong and what's right
But when asked how about something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet:

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You'll get pie in the sky when you die ...

(You see, according to the Gospel of Frank, there's too little certainty about when the seeds of the financial collapse were planted for this to have any impact on Bush's image. Sure, gonna get me some of that pie).

And what's Frank's final original thought in relation to Bush and Obama? "We should pray Bush's successor is comparably successful in handling the challenges that will confront him". Especially if Obama wants to leave office with record low popularity ratings and a general revulsion following close behind him.

Deary me, will it never stop. Will it never end? Will Bush-lovin' in the most homoerotic way imaginable never be satiated?

Just one problem Frank - poor old Shrub was so inarticulate, so inept with American English, that I defy anyone to mount a play out of any of his television interviews. You should never misunderestimate the incapacity of the man when it comes to not saying what he doesn't think, or at least mis-spoking it. 

But I do see the chance of a good mainstream comedy in twenty years. Jim Carrey will be old enough, or maybe Will Ferrell. We could call it "A Shrub Too Far". Or how about "The Years of Living Dangerously"? Or what about "The Year My Voice Broke, and I decided to show my daddy I knew how to do things much better than him after I gave up the drink and got a clearer mind"?

Whatever. Stay frosty, old chum.